Fred Brooks life and biography

Fred Brooks picture, image, poster

Fred Brooks biography

Date of birth : 1931-04-19
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Durham, N.Y., United States
Nationality : American
Category : Arhitecture and Engineering
Last modified : 2011-08-17
Credited as : Computer engineer, IBM,

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Fred Brooks is a software engineer and computer scientist, best-known for managing the development of IBM's System/360 family of computers and the OS/360 software support package, then later writing candidly about the process in his seminal book The Mythical Man-Month.

Computer engineer Fred Brooks worked at IBM during the early supercomputer era, where he was part of the teams that developed IBM's pioneering Stretch and Harvest computers. He coined the term "computer architecture", and later oversaw development of the IBM System/360 — the backbone of the first generation of commercial computers — and managed the software team that designed the OS/360 operating system. His work is seen as defining the still-dominant concept that distinguishes between computer hardware and software, and allows the separate but dynamically interlocking development of these two fields.

He is well known for what is now called Brooks' Law, which summarizes problems inherent in increasing the staff of a troubled project: "Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later." He has said that a central element of his team's success with the IBM 360 is that as the project progressed, his team effectively "shut out" interference from the company's hierarchy.

Since leaving IBM in 1964, Brooks has taught computer science at the the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His work over recent decades involves virtual environments, comprised of real-time, three-dimensional, computer graphics which have helped biochemists understand the structure of complex molecules and allowed architects to create "walk-through" motion pictures showing the interiors of buildings based on architectural plans. Despite his association with IBM, Brooks said in a 2010 interview with Computer World magazine that his favorite computer is a Macintosh laptop.


IBM Director of System Architecture (1956-60)
IBM Computer Engineer (1956-60)
IEEE W. Wallace McDowell Award 1970
Guggenheim Fellowship 1975
IEEE Computer Pioneer Award 1982
National Medal of Technology 1985
ACM Distinguished Service Award 1987
ACM Harry Goode Memorial Award 1989
IEEE John von Neumann Medal 1993
AAAI Allen Newell Award 1994
Franklin Institute's Henry Bower Award 1995
Turing Award 1999
ACM/IEEE Eckert–Mauchly Award 2004
IEEE Virtual Reality Award 2010
American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1976
Association for Computing Machinery 1953
British Computer Society Foreign Fellow
Eagle Forum
IEEE 1968
National Academy of Engineering 1976
National Academy of Sciences 2001
National Research Council
National Science Foundation
Royal Academy of Engineering Foreign Member, 1994
Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences Foreign Member, 1991
US Atomic Energy Commission Math & Computer Advisory Committee, 1967-72
Elizabeth Dole Committee
Huckabee for President
John McCain 2008
National Republican Congressional Committee
National Republican Senatorial Committee


Brooks, Jr., F.P. The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist. New York: Addison-Wesley, 2010, 400 pages.
Blaauw, G.A., F.P. Brooks, Jr. Computer Architecture: Concepts and Evolution. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1997, 1213 pages.
Brooks, Jr., F.P. The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, 20th Anniversary Edition. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1995, 322 pages.
Brooks, Jr., F.P., K.E. Iverson. Automatic Data Processing, System/360 Edition. New York: Wiley, 1963.

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